A former Dade County schools superintendent was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison and fined $5,000 for his second-degree grand theft conviction in the "Gold Plumbing Caper," plus two misdemeanor convictions.

Before Johnny L. Jones was charged with attempting to use $9,000 in school funds to buy luxury plumbing fixtures for personal use, he headed the nation's fifth largest public school system and was a nationally recognized educator.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Scott also barred Jones from holding public office for at least seven years.

Earlier this month, former MacArthur High School principal Solomon Barnes drew a maximum five-year sentence for his second-degree grand theft conviction in the case. Barnes was tried and convicted in West Palm Beach, where the trial was moved following unsuccessful attempts to seat a racially mixed, impartial jury in Miami.

Both Jones and Barnes are black and the "Gold Plumbing" case intensified the already racially tense atmosphere in the Miami area.

Scott, rejecting pleas that Jones be given a light sentence because of his community stature and because of Miami's racial climate, said Jones "violated the public trust, betrayed his friends and associates and is not fit for public office."